Kelley Digger Shield Takes the Express Route to Atlanta

October 27, 2020 by NASTT Staff


Fully Engineered, manufactured and on Site in 6 weeks!

On July 1st, 2020, The Atkinson / Technique Joint Venture entered into a contract with Kelley Engineered Equipment (KEE) for the supply of a 90.25” (2.3 m) digger shield. On August 15th, just Six weeks later, the machine was on site and ready to work. Averaging about 5.3’ (1.6 m) per day, the distance needed to install 4 rings of liner plate, the shield finished its drive on October 6th, 2020.
The task at hand was tunneling 356’ (109 m) of varying stiff clays, saprolite and mylonite for the City of Atlanta’s Water Supply Project Phase II. This undertaking connects a new 3.4-billion-gallon (12.9 million m³) emergency drinking water reservoir to a new treatment plant. However, the shield’s most important job was to provide the required Cooper E-80 Loading support under 154” (47 m) of the CSX railroad passing intermittently overhead with cover as low as 15’ (4.6 m).

In addition to thrust and steering systems, the unit was designed with special features to expedite assembly and disassembly in the heading. After the collapsed shield was lowered down a 30’ (9.1 m) diameter shaft, it was transported through an existing pre-lined tunnel and assembled at the mining site. The shield was assembled within these liner panels and thrust off smaller ID panels that were erected within the safety of the shield.

Fabrication, workshop assembly and factory acceptance testing were performed at KEE’s longtime partner, Wolf Hills Fabricators, LLC in Abingdon, VA. Wolf Hills supplied exceptional quality and were instrumental in achieving the very quick delivery.

Atkinson Construction’s Konner Horton was quoted as thanking KEE for “a machine that worked great and getting it done for us so quickly”.

Image 1: KEE digger shield fully assembled in the Wolf Hills facility and awaiting its trip to Atlanta.
Image 2: The 90.25” (2.3 m)) Kelley Shield in transport mode as it travels through the existing tunnel.
Image 3: The shield was lowered down a 30’ (9.1 m) diameter shaft before riding the rails to the excavation area under the CSX Railway.